The Bucks won the last time they played the Bulls in Milwaukee. Now they need to win in Milwaukee or the season will be over before the end of the weekend.
The points below are all about offense, which has been the main problem. If the Bucks are going to win, they are probably going to win in defensive ways. But they still need to find a way to 90 or 95 or 100.
Shoot And Make More Threes
You couldn’t tell from the series so far, but the Bucks actually were the more accurate three-point shooting team in the regular season. Granted, some of that was from Brandon Knight, but these three will need to warm up these playoff three-point percentages for the Bucks to have a chance: Ersan Ilyasova (.125), O.J. Mayo (.200), Jared Dudley (.250). Meanwhile, the Bulls have received some unexpected three-point bailout boosts from point guards Aaron Brooks (.571) and Derrick Rose (.385).
The accuracy problems have been compounded by how frequently the Bulls are attempting threes (32.5 per game, second most in playoffs) and how rarely the Bucks are attempting threes (16.5 per game, second fewest in playoffs).
More corner threes would help. The Bucks are 5-6 (.833) on corner threes but just 3-27 (.111) on threes above the break. Compare that to the Bulls, who are an even 6-16 (.375) on corner threes and 18-48 (.375) on threes above the break.
Protect The Boards
In the regular season, the Bulls were the fifth best offensive rebounding team in the league, while the Bucks ranked 25th in defensive rebound percentage. And that remains a major concern, with Taj Gibson (as per always) pulling in seven offensive rebounds in Game 1 and the backcourt of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler pulling in five offensive boards combined in Game 2.
The Bucks need all the offensive possessions they can get. Overall, these teams were pretty close in terms of rebound percentage in the regular season, but so far it has not been close in the playoffs.
Pass It On
Lacking individual star offensive power, the Bucks collected points in the regular season via decisive off-the-ball movement and quick decisions with the ball in hand. They ranked fifth overall in assist percentage in the regular season, while the Bulls ranked 11th.
Through the first two games, the Bulls have a comically high assist percentage, easily the best of any team in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Bucks are going more one-on-one, and they don’t have the personnel to make that work.
Cut Down On The Mid-Range Jumpers
No playoff team is attempting nearly as many mid-range jumpers as the Bucks so far. Consider that the Lakers, Knicks, and Timberwolves ranked one-two-three in the regular season in terms of attempting the most mid-range jumpers. That is not the right company to keep.
On the other hand, the Bulls have decreased these shots, focusing on higher efficiency shots at the rim and beyond the arc.
To be fair, a real share of this is the Bulls imposing their Bulls-ness. In the regular season, they forced more mid-range jumpers form opposing offenses than any team in the league.
Finish At The Rim
The Bucks have been by far the worst team in the playoffs at finishing near the rim, while the Bulls have been quite good. What makes this most frustrating is that the Bucks were actually better finishers in the restricted area over the span of 82 regular season games.
Then again, the Bulls were the best team in the NBA at defending shots in the restricted area during the regular season. Nothing easy.